There is the real world which we see nightly on the news, even if filtered through journalistic hubris in which people are killed, maimed, maligned and the gamut of human interaction. Then there are the “prophets” who keep cropping (usually crapping) up with visions of impending doom. The recent prayer event that Rick Perry attended was organized by some of the most bizarre religionists in our country. As noted on yesterday’s Fresh Aire, some individuals are crusading a brand of “spiritual warfare” that comes close to the real thing. These include what most normal people, including the vast majority of Evangelical Christians, would call nut cases: charismatic preachers who claim visions from God, but somehow need more money to get the vision across.

I visited one of these “prophet” sites of a fellow named Sid Roth. He looks like the kind of guy who you would meet at a Jewish Community Center and his site is all about Jews, that is all about how to convert Jews to his version of Christianity. You have to wonder about a flashy website that has a banner declaring “It’s supernatural!” as a registered trademark. There is also that “Messianic Vision”, which is blind to what most Christians believe and certainly to just about everything rational in the world today. One thing that is all over the site is the “Donate Now” prompt. However, I do find it ironic that one of the DVDs for sale at a discount is entitled “Will America Survive 2011?” Is it being discounted so more people will buy and view it (which I somehow doubt as a financial move) or because thus far it is surviving and probably will, so why not try to unload the DVDs now. Indeed there are people stupid enough in our land that will buy this DVD after 2011, just as those who predict the end of the world (or think it already ended) always keep a few followers.

A short surf of some of the sites on the network of media prophets came up not only with Sid (I do wish he were a professional comedian with that first name) but with a Faisal Malick, a Muslim who converted to Christianity and now tries to convert Muslims with slick media programs. The website is flashy, even promoting the “latest news.” But if you look at the media program, “Plumbline,” it seems that the last one uploaded was December 31, 2009. Mr. Malick is, of course, like all these latter day prophets, a prolific author and his books are, of course, available for sale.

There is a line in the Gospels were Jesus said that the poor will always be with you. Although Republicans miss out on a perfect mantra for their upcoming presidential campaign by not trademarking this (the Gospels are way out of copyright), I think that scholars need to look more closely at the original. I am not a specialist in New Testament Greek, but could it be that Jesus was not saying the obvious, but rather warning us. Perhaps it is: the shysters will always be with you. I do not claim to be a prophet, have not talked or otherwise communicated with Jesus, Moses or St. Augustine, but I think there is some profit in discounting the apocalyptic mumbo jumbo. If the unreality show “Name the Anti-Christ” premiers on MSNBC just before Rachel, I will know the end really is near.

Luke R. E. Publican